Wise (TransferWise) vs PayPal

Which offers the best value for money on international transfers?

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Wise and PayPal are two convenient options for sending an online money transfer, but which one will net you a better deal on your next transfer?

To find out, we'll compare Wise and PayPal side by side to see who offers the lowest fees, the best exchange rates and the fastest transfer speeds.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 19 February 2019.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details

Compare up to 4 providers

The "Rate" and "Amount Received" displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention "Finder" before you commit to a brand.

Which has lower fees?

Wise

Wise's fee is usually a combination of a small percentage of your transaction amount (typically ranging from 0.4% to 1.5%) plus a flat fee.

The flat fee is between $1 and $2 for most major currencies, but can climb above the $5 mark in some cases.

Bank transfers attract lower fees than if you pay with a credit or debit card.

PayPal

PayPal's fee structure is quite complicated. The amount you pay depends on your transfer amount and whether you pay for the transaction with your PayPal balance, bank account or credit/debit card.

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Winner: Tie

If paying for your transfer from your PayPal balance or bank account, PayPal's international transfer fees can be quite competitive. However, fees quickly add up if paying with your credit/debit card, and the complicated fee structure can be difficult to understand.

Wise also offers minimal fees for most transactions, and offers a handy online tool to help you calculate the total cost of your transaction.

Compare fees between the two providers for your specific transaction to find the best value for money.

Let's crunch the numbers: Sending $50 and $1,000 to the UK

Let's take a closer look at how Wise and PayPal compare when sending two different amounts to the UK. In this example, we'll assume the PayPal transaction will be funded from your bank account and the Wise transaction paid for with a bank transfer.

Sending $50 to the UK
WisePayPal
Transfer fee$1.34$2.99
Transaction cost$50$52.99
Exchange rate1 AUD = 0.55179 GBP1 AUD = 0.5286 GBP
Transfer speed1-2 daysInstant
Amount received (in GBP)£26.85£26.43

As you can see, not only will you pay $2.99 less to send the money with Wise (Wise deducts the fee from your $50 transfer amount), but your recipient will also end up with £0.42 more.

Sending $1000 to the UK
WisePayPal
Transfer fee$5.22$5.99
Transaction cost$1,000$1,005.99
Exchange rate1 AUD = 0.55179 GBP1 AUD = 0.5286 GBP
Transfer speed1-2 daysInstant
Amount received (in GBP)£548.91£528.60

Wise is a clear winner in this second comparison. Not only does it allow you to pay $5.99 less for the transfer than PayPal, but your beneficiary receives an extra £20.31.

Which offers better exchange rates?

Wise

Wise offers international money transfers using the mid-market exchange rate. This is the rate which you see listed on Google and sites like XE, and it represents the real market value of one currency relative to another. For example, if the mid-market rate is 1 AUD = 0.7130 USD, that's the rate you'll get for your transfer.

PayPal

PayPal adds a margin on top of the mid-market rate. While this margin is typically smaller than that offered by the banks, it's generally around the 3.5-4% range.

Using the same example as we did for Wise:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 AUD = 0.7130 USD
  • PayPal's rate might be 1 AUD = 0.6876 USD

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Winner: Wise

Wise's exchange rates are much better than those offered by PayPal, which means more of the money you send arrives in your recipient's bank account.

Which is faster

Wise

Transfer times vary depending on the currency you send and the payment method you select.

While most transactions take between 1 and 2 business days, it's possible to send funds to some destinations within minutes.

PayPal

Your recipient should be able to access the funds you send to their PayPal account almost immediately. However, please note that if the recipient doesn't want to leave this balance in their PayPal account, withdrawing to their bank account will take one or more business days.

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Winner: PayPal

PayPal transfers are generally faster – but only if your recipient is happy to spend the money you send directly from their PayPal account. If they want it sitting in their bank account, you may find that Wise will get the money there quicker.

General features

Payment methodsReceiving optionsMinimum and maximum transfersTransfer speedsCurrencies
Wise
  • Bank transfer
  • POLi
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Android Pay
  • Apple Pay
Bank transfer
  • Minimum: $1
  • Maximum: $1,800,000
1 - 2 days48 countries
PayPal
  • Bank transfer
  • Credit or debit card
  • PayPal Credit
PayPal account transfer
  • Minimum: $1
  • Maximum: $60,000
1 day190+ countries

Wise

While Wise offers a handy fee and exchange rate calculator on its website, you'll need to sign up for a Wise account before you can make a transfer. You can then initiate a transfer by specifying the amount and currency you want to send and providing your recipient's bank account details.

You'll receive email updates throughout the transfer process and can track your transaction online or using the Wise app.

PayPal

Before you can send money overseas with PayPal, both you and your recipient will need to have your own PayPal accounts. You can then link your bank account or credit/debit card to your PayPal account to fund your transaction.

To send a transfer, enter the email address or phone number of your recipient. You will then have to enter the details of your transaction, specify the reason why you are sending funds, and then take a moment to review the full cost of your transaction before submitting your transfer.

Bottom line

Wise generally offers much better value for money than PayPal on international transfers. While fee amounts often work out fairly similar between the two companies when paying from your bank account, Wise's commitment to offering the mid-market rate means that more of the money you send will end up in your recipient's pocket.

While PayPal can be useful when sending a small amount or when you need to make a quick transfer, Wise usually comes out on top.

Looking for more options?

Use our calculator below to compare the fees, exchange rates and transfer speeds of a range of international money transfer services. Simply enter your transaction details in the calculator to find out what fees and exchange rates are on offer.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 0 1 - 2 days AUD 3.99 1.325 AUD
3,842
New customers use code AZIMO50 to get GBP 5 off when you transfer GBP 50+. Valid till 31 October 2021. T&Cs apply.
Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day USD 0.00 1.322 AUD
3,833
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day USD 0.00 1.318 AUD
3,821
Send guarantees to match any competitor’s exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day USD 0.00 1.324 AUD
3,840
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day USD 3.99 1.324 AUD
3,834
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
AUD 200 1 - 2 days USD 14.50 1.323 AUD
3,817
Exclusive: New customers sending over 500 AUD from Australia use code FINDER50 to get 50 AUD off. Pay zero fees on your first transaction. Valid till 31 December 2021. T&Cs apply.
Instarem offers simple transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers.
Go to site Show details
AUD 10 Within an hour USD 2.99 1.32 AUD
3,825
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 1.322 AUD
3,833
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Frequently asked questions

More guides on Finder

International Money Transfer Offers

Important Information*
Logo for Azimo International Money Transfers
Azimo International Money Transfers

New customers use code AZIMO50 to get GBP 5 off when you transfer GBP 50+. Valid till 31 October 2021. T&Cs apply.
Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries.

Logo for TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX International Money Transfers

TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.

Logo for MasterRemit International Money Transfers
MasterRemit International Money Transfers

New customers get their first transaction for free with code FIRSTFREE. T&Cs apply.
Send money in minutes at competitive exchange rates with this Australian money transfer service.

Logo for OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers

$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.

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